It's always a better week when the Patriots are playing on Sunday. The bye is over, the Patriots are 3-0 and ready to travel down to creepy-ass 'Jerry World' to play the Dallas Cowboys. New England is one of five unbeaten teams left heading into Week five, along with Green Bay, Cincinnati, Denver and Carolina, and here's hoping they head out of there still unbeaten.
Hard to believe this time last year the Patriots were 2-2 and 'on to Cincinnati.' The experts ranked them between 7th and 20th, with an average of 14th in the league. Hard to find many doubters anywhere now.
This will be a milestone game for Tom Brady, as it 's the first time in NFL history a QB has had two 100 consecutive-game streaks. That will be nice and all, but we all know the only thing Brady cares about is leaving Dallas in the dust with a win.
Around the AFC East:
Patriots (3-0) at Dallas (2-2)
Buffalo (2-2) at Tennessee (1-2)
NY Jets (3-1) Bye
Miami (1-3) Bye
Notable AFC Matchups:
Indianapolis (2-2) at Houston (1-3)
Denver (4-0) at Oakland (2-2)
Cincinnati (4-0) vs. Seattle (2-2)
Baltimore (1-3) vs. Cleveland (1-3)
Pittsburgh (2-2) at San Diego (2-2)
Jacksonville (1-3) at Tampa Bay (1-3)
Mike Florio (ProFootballTalk) ranks them 1st: The bye week, the one weekend of the year when the Patriots definitely won’t win.
Vinnie Iyer (Sporting News) ranks them 1st: The only thing that could stop Gronk was a bye. Gronk enjoy bye. Now Gronk ready to spike competition again. The Super Bowl champions are still the best team in the league.
ESPN Experts rank them 1st: How good were the Patriots in their first three games? They have a better points differential (plus-49) than each of the five 4-0 teams.
Mark Maske (Washington Post) ranks them 1st: The Patriots didn’t exactly need a bye three games into their season, but never quibble with a week off in the NFL. Let the DeflateGate payback resume this weekend.
The AP Pro32 ranks them 1st.
Chris Burke (SI) ranks then 1st: Week 4 was a bye week for the Patriots, so I'm taking the scenic route here: [Dear Lord does he ever...] ... current Patriots defensive coordinator Patricia could be the breakthrough hire for a team digging into the Belichick roots.
Nick Cicere (Sports Quotient) ranks them 1st: The Patriots showed no mercy as they ran up the score on the Jaguars in a 51-17 win at home. The Patriots offense was clicking on all cylinders, as they scored on every possession, giving their punter a much needed rest. All jokes aside, QB Tom Brady is having one heck of a season. Brady has thrown for nine touchdowns and zero interceptions through three games. Brady also became the fourth quarterback in NFL history to throw 400 touchdowns in a career. Heading into an early bye week, Brady will get to rest his golden arm.
Danny Kelly (SB Nation) ranks them 1st: The Patriots were off in Week 4, but the Packers and Bengals are sure giving them a run for their money when it comes to the top spot in our power rankings. Green Bay won in impressive fashion against San Francisco and Cincy continued its tear by knocking off the Chiefs at home.
Dan Schneier (Fox Sports) ranks them 1st: With the passing game clicking on all cylinders, it’s frightening to think about what kind of numbers Tom Brady can rack up when wide receiver Brandon LaFell returns later in the season.
Dan Parzych (Rant Sports) ranks them 1st: Don't expect Tom Brady and the New England Patriots to slow down any time soon as this team should be well rested after their bye week. There was originally hype for Sunday's game against the Cowboys, but with all of the injuries in Dallas--this should be a much easier contest for Brady and company.
Frank Schwab (Shutdown Corner) ranks them 1st: The Patriots have passed 133 times and ran the ball 71 times. But yet we'll still hear people say you need to run the ball to win championships, when that's clearly not true anymore.
Peter King (The MMQB) ranks the Patriots 1st: Back on Labor Day, Games 4 and 5—at Dallas, at Indianapolis—looked significantly more troublesome than they do now.
Reddit ranks them 1st: RE: MNF's Batted Ball: "I PROMISE YOU BILL BELICHECK KNOWS THAT RULE...CAUSE WE PRACTICED IT IN OUR SITUATIONAL PRACTICES #chesswhileyouplaycheckers" - Rosevelt Colvin. In other news: "I'm so glad this bye is over".
Brent Sobleski (Bleacher Report) ranks them 1st: ...Belichick and his staff had two weeks to prepare for the decimated Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys offense, in particular, continues to suffer injuries, with running back Lance Dunbar the latest victim. He's out for the season with a torn ACL and MCL, per NFL Media's Ian Rapoport (via NFL.com's Dan Hanzus). The extra week to prepare only seems to make this a bigger mismatch in favor of New England.
Lorenzo Reyes (USA Today) ranks them 1st: The last time Tom Brady made a visit to Dallas, he torched the Cowboys for five TD passes. Welcome to JerryWorld, Tom.
Mike Procopio (Goal Line Gazette) ranks them 1st: New England Patriots – Even Brady’s kid is setting new fashion trends. Did you see the photos from his sister’s wedding?.
Elliot Harrison (NFL.com) ranks the Patriots 2nd: The bye week in New England meant additional time for Patriots fans to send along their tweets regarding how awesome their team is. No fanbase tweets such things more ... Ravens fans hop on Twitter as much, but in their case, it's more "Hey, we're still kinda good!" or -- a favorite -- "Your (sic) an idiot." Truth is, New England is a premier team right now -- and surprisingly, the defense is a large reason for that. The unit might not be setting the world on fire, but 17th in points allowed is solid enough for Tom Brady, who, well, is setting the world on fire.
Pete Prisco (CBS Sports) ranks them 2nd: They were on a roll before their early-season bye. Will they keep it going? How do you stop Tom Brady?.
AVERAGE RANK: 1.1